CHEF VISITS THE URBAN FARM

Our homegrown business started back in the mid 1990’s first selling edible flowers to restaurants and caterers in the San Gabriel Valley area. After a few years we then started to expand our growing and selling efforts to herbs and heirloom vegetables. Unfortunately demand exceed supply these days since not only is the garden supplying our family with a viable modest income but about 99% of fruits, vegetables and herbs. We have our hands full with this little 1/10 acre garden and it shows that small can be beautiful and productive.

This time of year is prime growing season for our popular, melt in your mouth “baby green salad mix.” One our clients at his local bistro here in Pasadena has named the special salad they serve in our honor – the ‘Dervaes Salad’

We are blessed to have such wonderful clients located less than a 10 minute drive who understand the value our fresh, organic produce.

This week one of our chef clients stopped by to see what we had growing so he could incorporate our homegrown vegetables for his weekly specials.

chef-1.jpg Farmer D explains what’s growing in this bed to Chef O

chef-2.jpg Chef O tries a leaf

chef-3.jpg Chef O discusses how much he will need next week, Farmer D agrees. Chef O looks over the pea bed and wonders if he should make a dish using the pea tendrils

One of our readers had a question, thanks for reminding me! I figure this is good as post as any to address her question about salad growing (sorry it took so long!).

Greetings in the Name of the Lord!

I love your blog and I am trying to learn what I can about your gardening process. I want to incorporate your salad-growing process in my garden this summer. Usually I grow well-spaced lettuces, but I want to grow those baby lettuces and other greens. I don’t plan on having raised beds like you, but I thought I would make a box frame for baby lettuces that I could move when I need to till in the garden. So, my question is: Do you broadcast the seed mix or do you space them? I really like the idea of just broadcasting the seed. I do that will beans and peas, etc., in wide rows. So easy. Also, how long do the plants last, getting mowed regularly? I am planning on putting my lettuce box underneath the trellis that has tomatoes, melons, cukes, and sqaush on it, for the shade. Will that help them last? I guess, maybe I am asking for an indepth treatment of raising salads. 😉 I know you are very, very busy. I just thought it wouldn’t hurt to ask. 😀 Keep up the good work. – Ginny

Thanks for the question, Ginny. Here on the urban farm, we sow lettuce and other field greens directly and use the “cut and come again” method when it comes to harvesting. This method prevents the greens from bolting which increases the harvest production of each bed. The greens are harvested on a daily or weekly basis.

In summer it’s best to move the green to a shadier location or, like you mentioned, position the bed in the shade of taller plants like tomatoes or squash. Positioning greens around taller vegetables will provide full sun in spring and in summer will cast shade over the greens during the intense summer.

When the heat is one, you can look for “summer lettuce varieties” that are slower to bolt with the onslaught of warmer temperatures. Or better yet, be creative and experiment with greens other than lettuce. Grow “hot weather greens” like tempala, (a.k.a “green amaranth”) new zealand spinach, tyfon mustard, purple goosefoot and so on.

:: Field Hand Appreciation :: CK $25

No Comments

  1. LaVonne says:

    Great tips about salad greens, thanks. I bought a mesclun seed pack awhile back but haven’t gotten around to sewing it in my Earthbox yet. Am I too late? I live in San Diego.

  2. Anne says:

    What a beautiful personal photo – you look so at peace!

    One of the things that I really appreciate about your posts and your site is your focus on conservation, limited consumption, and simple living. These are areas that it is too easy to start slipping back up the notch, so your example and reminders are a real help! Anne

  3. Lucy says:

    I think there was a question you missed, which is: Do you broadcast the seed semi-randomly, or do you space it deliberately?

  4. Eric says:

    You mention green amaranth in your blog, calling it “tempala.” I live in Portland, OR, and green amaranth is considered a weed here and can be found in great abundance in most disturbed soil. Though I can’t eat all that grows in my yard, I really love the stuff and I pick it when it is about 6″ tall and stir fry it with a little salt and sesame oil – yummy!! Thanks for your site, I visit it frequently. Eric

  5. Anais says:

    LaVonne

    Here in So Cal it’s never too late to sow lettuce/mesclun green s. Actually greens can grow year around if given proper attention.

    Happy spring planting!
    Anais

  6. Anais says:

    Thanks Anne for your positive comments.

    Taking my photo is very difficult. I am not one for cameras! (Actually it took us years to finally put photos of ourselves on the web. Readers wanted to know what we looked like and so we finally consented much to many readers appreciation. )

    Here’s how this photo came about.

    Jordanne (my sister): “We need to take another photo of you, the one on the web is too blurry!”

    Me (moaning): “Do I have too… yes, I guess you are right!”

    Jordanne grabs the camera

    Jordanne (holding the camera): Tells me to “Stop fidgeting!”

    Anais (thinking to herself): Sheesh this is torture, I rather be cleaning up chicken manure

    Jordanne (snapping photos from all sorts of angles): “Stop your squinting!”

    Anais: Yes Ma’am!

    Jordanne (tells a funny joke to lightening me up)

    Anais (smiles and laughs)

    Jordanne: “I think we got it!”

    Anais: By George, I think we did! 😉

  7. Anais says:

    Lucy

    Thanks for pointing that out. It’s hard to keep track of all the questions that we are inundated with. So it helps when readers contribute.

    To answer that question: We broadcast the seeds randomly.

    Anais

  8. Ginny says:

    Anais,

    Thanks so much for answering my question. Things are getting hectic around here and I haven’t been on the computer in a while, so I am late in checking back. I need to get and put together a temporary brooder, get working on the coop, and get my seeds started inside.

    Busy, busy. Praise the Lord, it is SPRING! 😀

    In Christ,

    Ginny

  9. Anais says:

    You’re welcome Ginny!

    Amen to that! What a blessing, Spring is Here!

    Wishing you a bountiful and productive harvest season!
    Anais

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